That’s how foster toddler says, “Done!”  She learned how to sign “done” at daycare, so she spreads her arms out, palms turned up, and says, “Daaaaa.”  Her vowels need some work yet, but she’s got the consonant, and of course, we know exactly what she’s saying.  

We are now “daaaaa!” with our first-year social worker.  We wrapped up our annual assessment this afternoon, and the next time we see her will be at the transition meeting when she introduces us to our new social worker.  

We finished up some lingering questions regarding our home safety check.  She was THOROUGH.  But not thorough in a “I’m doing a good job” kind of way but thorough in a “I’m going to ask you stupid questions about common sense practices so that I can cover my ass every which way possible” kind of way.  

For example, my Fire Evacuation map posted on the side of our fridge.  It wasn’t good enough because I merely drew a map of our house and clearly marked the exits (doors and windows) from each room with large arrows.  No, in her mind, the plan should also have detailed instructions on how to exit the house.  So I wrote down 1)  Exit the house through the nearest door or window (see arrows on the map).  Because in case of a fire, Will and I are going to abandon the child in the house and run for our lives.  Assuming they can read, they now know to exit the house through the nearest door or window.  (I’m just kidding.  In case of a fire, Will is going to get the child out of the house, and I will get the dogs.  She made me write that down as well.  The third instruction was “Phone 911.”  After I wrote that down, she said, “I don’t know.  Do you think that’s clear enough?”  I walked away and hung the map back up on the fridge).  

Next we discussed the chickens and bees, and what precautionary safety measures we were taking because, as you know, killer chickens.  She was concerned about diseases from the chickens.  I said that a) the child has no reason to enter the coop, and b) as long as you don’t wear your coop cleaning boots inside the house, you’ll be fine.  That concerned her.  Why would you leave your shoes outside? I said, “For the same reason you would leave your shoes outside if you stepped in dog poop.  It’s gross and unhealthy to bring animal feces into your home.  At least you can compost your chickens’ poop.”  

As for the bees, the hives are located at the back of the garden, which is enclosed with a fence to keep out dogs and small children.  To which she replied, “But children can climb fences.”  To which I replied, “What else would you suggest we do?  Enclose the garden in barbed wire?”  That was followed by a long discussion about the differences between wasps and bees, and why wearing a bee beard is totally safe.  

Once the safety assessment was finally over (“Tell me, any of those substances you’re storing near the furnace, are they flammable?”  Deep breath.  Suppress the urge to scream, “Do I look like a fucking idiot?”), then we finished our learning assessment tool (see this blog post regarding my assessment of the learning assessment tool).  After pointing out last time that no one would ever answer, “No I don’t think that skill is important to my role as a foster parent,” she conveniently filled in every answer for us with “3 – Very Important” but we still had to rate ourselves between “0 – Exceptional” and “3 – Not at All” on seven more pages of questions.  At the end, right about when foster toddler was going to need to eat supper or go ballistic, Social Worker said, “I know that was difficult for you, but thanks for getting through it.”  No, I corrected her, it wasn’t difficult.  I could have banged that thing off in half an hour instead of two hours if you hadn’t insisted on expanding and discussing every question.  I don’t like the learning assessment tool because it was not designed to provide me with any useful feedback; I find no value in it.  Especially since it has no bearing on our annual review, and now it’s going to be signed by your supervisor, the “score” will be entered into a database and  find its way in to some sort of governmental report on the effectiveness of the P.R.I.D.E training program , and then tucked in our file to never see the light of day again.  It was never designed for true self-evaluation; it was designed so that the Ministry could have a metric to report.  

I could keep ranting, but I’ll stop there because we’re “daaaaa” with her.  I will just say that if everyone who had a baby had to go through the bureaucratic bullshit that foster parents have to go through, it just might put an end to our exponential population growth.  Ta Ta for now.